By taking some simple steps to improve your lifestyle you can help reduce your risk of getting colorectal cancer. It is important that you:

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life

Try to be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight.  Avoid excess weight gain at all ages. For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start. Get regular physical activity and limit intake of high-calorie foods and drinks as keys to help maintain a healthy weight.

Be physically active and exercise regularly

Recommendation for adults is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. Children and teens should get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week. Sedentary behavior (sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment) should be avoided.  Exercise does not have to be about working out in a gym. You can simply take the stairs, walk to the shops, do the housework, walk the dog or get off the bus a few stops earlier.

Eat a healthy diet , with an emphasis on plant foods

For more information visit our diet page

Limit your alcohol intake and don't smoke

There is some evidence to suggest that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The recommended weekly allowance for alcohol intake is 14 units for a woman and 21 units for men. One unit is approximately half a pint of beer, half a glass of wine or one measure of spirits.

Smokers are more likely to develop polyps which could turn into cancer if not discovered.

Get familiar with the symptoms of colorectal cancer and consult your health care provider if you have any concerns

Rectal bleeding and anaemia are high risk factors for colorectal cancer. Other symptoms can include:
  • Persistent change in intestinal function over a period of several weeks
  • Unexplained constipation or diarrhea
  • Very dark stool
  • Unexplained severe pain and/or lump in the abdomen
  • Extreme fatigue without an obvious cause
You might experience one, some, all of the above or no symptoms at all. Remember most symptoms will not be colorectal cancer.
Risk Factors